Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Brian Hughes: Maximilian is out for the season


Brian Hughes: Maximilian is out for the season


It’s been a bit of a frustrating week as there’s been a lot of racing called off, and some of the meetings that did go ahead were run on bottomless ground, which doesn’t suit a lot of Donald McCain horses.

We were all happy with the performance of Richmond Lake at Aintree on Saturday, though. He was the best of the bunch on the day and he won very well. He’s a bit of a strange horse, as he has a funny way of going, but he has plenty of ability. The horse is as hard as nails too and the way he powered away from everything last week, from near enough top-weight, suggests stepping up in trip could be something to try in the future, but he’s very good over 2m4f for now.

He’s up to 150 in the handicap now, so you’d think his next run might come in pattern company. He likes to go left-handed, so maybe there’ll be something for him at a track like Haydock.

It was also very nice on Saturday to get a ride for Mr Philip Hobbs and Johnson White with Celebre D’Allen. I won a race for them as a claimer years ago, which as you can imagine was a long time ago now, and I thought he was going to win for a minute, but he just didn’t finish off his race. He’s only a small little horse but jumped fantastically and he gave me a good spin.

Friday at Bangor-on-Dee

It will be hard work out there tomorrow on that heavy ground, but Donald will have declared the ones that he thinks will act on the ground, kicking off with Ballybeg Boss (12:20 am).

If you had said to me, he would be running off a mark of 102, I would have laughed at you! He was second in a point-to-point, so should take to fences, and he should go well if putting it all together.

After that, I have Henry Gray (12:55 pm) who ran and jumped well for a long way at Market Rasen but didn’t finish his race off. He probably would have needed that run, so I’d like to think he’ll build on that.

Hold That Taught (1:30 pm) is a last-time-out winner at Ascot on soft ground, so you would like to think he’s going there with every chance, particularly with Venetia Williams horses in such great form. I’ve had the odd ride for Venetia in the past and rode a winner for her a few years back, so it’s nice to pick up a good spare again.

I think Just Gino (2:35 pm) should run a solid race. I’ve schooled and worked him at home and he feels like a nice type. He’s won his only point-to-point and hopefully has a bright future.

Finally, Grand Albert (3:42 pm) goes in the bumper. He’s a very nice, uncomplicated horse who won his point-to-point and does everything nicely at home. We’ll just have to see how it comes together on the track.

Donald’s horses are starting to get there now. They’ve been under a bit of a cloud as such, but they’re starting to run better now. Really deep ground doesn’t seem to suit the horses, so hopefully, some better ground follows. 

Unfortunately, one of the horses we were all looking forward to having this campaign was Maximilian, but he’s picked up an injury and we won’t be seeing him this season. It’s a real shame as his form is proving to be rock-solid, having beaten the likes of Stay Away Fay and finished second to Apple Away, but it’s one of those things and hopefully, we get to see him next season.

Saturday at Doncaster

I start the day off with Cofficionado (11:40 am). He hasn’t had many runs on the Flat and has been very green, but is starting to get the hang of things. He ran a bit better the other day at Musselburgh, so hopefully he takes another step forward. If it’s not this run, then he should be winning in the not-too-distant future, probably in handicaps.

Not Staying Long (12:50 pm), who I won on last time at Catterick, is a nice big filly who has been given time to fill into her frame. Running in her first handicap with 11st 11lb on her back will be no easy feat, but I know both the owners and Mike Smith like her, so hopefully she’ll be a mare that will pay her way.

I was disappointed Haydock was off the other week, as I did a bit of work on Barrichello (1:25 pm) and he was bouncing. I think he definitely has a chance of that weight and is probably one of my better rides on the day.

Nayati (2:40 pm) should run a nice race off 10st 6lb. He’s been a good horse for connections over the years. There are not many £8,000 purchases from Alan King that have gone on to do what he’s done.